The Oscars are starting in a few minutes and that's all you hear about on TV right now. At Vermont Woods Studios, we don't have much of a Hollywood fan club– nor does the rest of Vermont. In fact, you might say Vermont is the antithesis of Hollywood. But just for fun, I started googling around to see if anyone from Vermont would be at tonight's Tinseltown festivities.
All I could find was Oscar's Farm, a place where "people live harmoniously with nature and practice sustainable living". Apparently not the same Oscars.
Then I found Oscars Casual Dining in Williston, VT. Nope.
But after a bit of searching… low and behold it seems we do have one Vermont celebrity who's in the news for attending the Oscars and true to Hollywood's mega-star protocol, she goes by just a first name. It's Squeak.
Squeak is making her Oscar debut to promote BirdsBeSafe Cat Collars, colorful collars designed to grab the attention of songbirds and send them flying safely away from innocent-looking predators. The collars are going in celebrity swag bags at various Oscar events.
Bongo, Shadow and Pepper think it's fitting that Vermont's only notable attendee at the Oscars is a cat. And one looking out for the welfare of our feathered-friends, no less. Let's just hope she doesn't accidently lunge out at Billy Crystal or any of the other songbirds on stage tonight.
Go Squeak! And our best to Nancy Brennan, founder of BirdsBeSafe in Duxbury, Vermont.
We have several Vermont Conservation Heros that we admire so much, we named sustainable furniture collections after them.
Dr. Rosalind Renfrew is a dedicated wildlife biologist in Vermont. We
first encountered Roz when she was leading the Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas project but her passion for Vermont's birds
and their forest habitats has led her into many other important conservation projects since.
One of Roz's projects is bobolink migration. Amazingly these tiny birds (weight: about 1 ounce– the weight of 1 slice of bread) migrate from Vermont to various locations in South America, approximately 8000-12,000 miles per year, round trip. Roz and colleagues have tagged 433 of the charismatic songbirds to learn more about them and help preserve the species. The odds for recovering a tagged bird aren't so good. Actually statistically they're essentially zero.
Well, guess what? This year the first Bobolink, No. 0961-10071 was recovered just 12 miles from Roz's home in Vermont. The bird had been tagged 4300 miles away in Bolivia 3 years ago. Since then he had flown at least 35,000 miles (more than a trip around the world which is 25,000 miles at the equator) in migration before a fateful summer day in VT when he had a most unfortunate encounter with a house cat. How sad!
Roz notes that these magnificent flyers encounter numerous perils throughout their short and vulnerable lives. No. 0961-10071 may have achieved the average lifespan of a Bobolink which is about 5 years. Who knows? But regardless of the details of his demise, he is a special guy having flown all those miles and contributed much to the survival of his species through Roz's research.
Cat lovers (like me) take heed. Might better keep those cat's inside… and get the stray cats neutered, but that's for another day.